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NSF & Congress

Hearing Summary: Senate VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee National Science Foundation Fiscal 2003 Budget

May 15, 2002

On April 24 the Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing on two bills concerning computer security and counter-terrorism. S. 2037, introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), would establish a national emergency technology guard to mobilize technology and science experts to respond quickly to the threats posed by terrorist attacks and other emergencies. The bill would also establish within the National Institute of Standards and Technology a technology reliability advisory board and a center for evaluating technology to respond to acts of terrorism and other disasters. A second bill, S. 2182 would authorize National Science Foundation funding for computer and network security research and development and establish research fellowships in cyber security.

Rep. Sherry Boehlert (R-NY) testified in support of S. 2182, which is companion legislation to the Cybersecurity Research and Development Act (H.R. 3394) which he introduced in the House. The bill would establish NSF as the lead agency for improving basic research in cybersecurity and create at NIST a Computer System Security and Privacy Advisory Board.

George Strawn, Acting Assistant Director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering at NSF testified on S. 2182, outlining ongoing research programs at NSF that focus on research and education in the area of information technology security. NSF currently allocates approximately $25 million for research in cybersecurity, including a new program in Trusted Computing. One of the problems noted during the hearing was the lack of a critical mass of researchers in the computer security field. New programs, such as those proposed in S 2182, were viewed by several witnesses as a possible means of developing a vibrant research community in this area.

Other witnesses included Professor Lance J. Hoffman, Computer Science Department The George Washington University; Ronil Hira, Chair, R&D Policy Committee, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; Jeffrey Logan, Wireless Systems; and W. Wyatt Starnes, President of Tripwire, Inc. These witnesses testified in favor of S. 2037, noting the need for interoperable systems, evaluation of technology to be employed during emergencies, and the utility of developing a volunteer technology guard.

See also:
Dr. Strawn's Testimony